Key holds lifted on most U.S. aid to Palestinians
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
March 23rd, 2012
07:39 PM ET

Key holds lifted on most U.S. aid to Palestinians

By Jamie Crawford

Two powerful Republicans in the House of Representatives released restrictions Friday on the disbursement of U.S. assistance to Palestinians that the congresswomen had been blocking in Congress.

Rep. Kay Granger, chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs, said she was releasing a hold that had been in place since August on all of the $147 million in congressionally appropriated money for the Palestinians. House Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen partially lifted her block for more than half of the funds to be sent.
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March 23rd, 2012
04:30 PM ET

Syrians in U.S. may apply to stay under Temporary Protected Status

 By CNN's Carol Cratty

 Starting next week, Syrians who have been living temporarily in the United States will be able to apply for Temporary Protected Status and remain in the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security announced Friday.

"Conditions in Syria have worsened to the point where Syrian nationals already in the United States would face serious threats to their personal safety if they were to return to their home country," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a written statement.

A Homeland Security official said that an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 people who now have visas will be eligible to apply to stay in the U.S. for 18 months. Approval is not automatic: Applicants must undergo full background checks, and criminals and anyone considered a national security threat will not be accepted, according to the official.

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Filed under: Homeland Security • Napolitano • Syria
March 23rd, 2012
02:40 PM ET

Charges announced in Afghan massacre

The U.S. military has formally announced charges in the March 11th killing of 17 Afghan civilians.

Read also: Prosecution faces major hurdles

Here is the press release detailing the charges: FULL POST


Filed under: Afghanistan • SSGT Robert Bales
Counterterrorism center can keep data on Americans for longer
Operations Center at the National Counterterrorism Center
March 23rd, 2012
11:26 AM ET

Counterterrorism center can keep data on Americans for longer

By Pam Benson

The Obama administration has revised guidelines to allow the National Counterterrorism Center access to data about Americans that it can search and store for a longer period of time, even if that information is not related to terrorism.

The revision, announced Thursday night, will allow the center to obtain data from other government databases that include nonterrorism information on U.S. citizens and residents, and retain the material for up to five years.

Guidelines established in November 2008 only allowed the center to keep the information for up to 180 days before permanently removing it.

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Filed under: 9/11 • Clapper • Intelligence • NCTC • ODNI • Terrorism • Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab
March 23rd, 2012
06:18 AM ET

France wonders about missed signs of a terrorist among them

By  Tim Lister

Did French intelligence services miss vital clues as Mohammed Merah showed signs of growing radicalization? In the words of the French newspaper, L'Express, on Thursday: "Did the security services fail in their surveillance?"

How do western intelligence agencies choose who to focus on as terror suspects, amid hundreds that express or harbor militant views? Do they have sufficient resources; and where lies the balance between surveillance and the protection of civil liberties?

These are just a few of the questions emerging after Merah's killings. FULL POST


Filed under: Afghanistan • Al Qaeda • France • Living With Terror • Pakistan • Terrorism
Prosecution faces major hurdles in massacre case
March 23rd, 2012
12:30 AM ET

Prosecution faces major hurdles in massacre case

By Larry Shaughnessy

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The 16 Afghans killed in a shooting spree in early March were buried without autopsies, in accordance with the Islamic tradition of a quick burial. Any effort to do disinter the bodies and do an autopsy would probably be resisted by the Afghan villagers.

But that could present one of many challenges military prosecutors will have in making a case against the alleged shooter, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales.

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